West Chester University

Spring 2006 and Fall 2005

West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Syllabi and Announcements
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements and Assignments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2008)
  A Reading of THE TEMPEST

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Rites of Passage (Spring 2006)
  Goals of the Course
  Fundamental Questions about Literature
  Valuing Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Literature as ART
  Approaching the Art of Fiction
  Defining the Short Story
  Evaluating Short Fiction
  Craft of Fiction: PLOT
  Craft of Fiction: CHARACTER
  Small Group Exercise
  ARABY by James Joyce
  A note about GIRL
  POE and the art of STORY OF A HOUR
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Fiction and Ambiguity - Your Questions
  Writing Workshop - Short Fiction
  Poetry Journal Project Assignment Sheet
  Defining Poetry
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  Drama and Tragedy
  Study Questions: DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2006)
  Paper #4 Assignment Sheet
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources Worksheet
  Selecting Information
  Evaluating Arguments
  CASEBOOK PROJECT Assignment Sheet
  Approaching Persuasive Writing
  Topic Development - Profile Essay
  Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay
  Paper #2 Assignment Sheet
  Profile Exercise
  Objective Writing: Selected Readings
  Writing Workshop: Paper #1
  Expressive Writing in the NYTimes
  Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions
  Paper #1: IDENTITY
  Expressive Writing
  Open Letter Exercise and Examples
  EMERSON on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Literature related to IDENTITY
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Fall 2005)
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Franz Kafka's BEFORE THE LAW
  Paper #3: Assignment Sheet
  Paper #4: Independent Project
  The Problem of Stability in BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Analyzing Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  A Reading of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
  From today's news (11/3/05)
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #2
  Goodbye to Dante's Imaginary World
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 10-34
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 1-10
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 32-34
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 18-31
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 12-17
  INFERNO: Structure
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 1-5
  INFERNO: Analyzing Canto 1
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Approaching Dante's DIVINE COMEDY
  A Little Help with Dante's INFERNO
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Responses to LEAF BY NIGGLE
  ON FAIRY STORIES: An Essay by Tolkien
  Notes on Axolotl
  Reading Ovid's Tales
  From Myth to Literature: Approaching Ovid's Tales
  Functions of the Genesis Tales
  Analyzing Mythic Tales
  Defining Mythology
  Filtering the Introduction to FANTASTIC WORLDS
  Commentary on LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI by Keats
  Commentary on DARKNESS by Byron
  Handout: Imagination Poems Set
  What is Imagination?
  Our Course Theme: Imaginary Worlds
  LIT 165 Assignments: Fall 2005
  LIT 165 Announcements: Fall 2005
  Imaginary Worlds: Course Syllabus

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Fall 2005)
  Paper #4: Independent Thinking/Reading/Writing
  Casebook Preparation Checklist
  Casebook Assignment Schedule
  Evaluating Sources for the Casebook
  Casebook Project Assignment Sheet
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Assignment Sheet: Objective Writing
  Reviewing Elements of the Profile Essay
  Writing the Profile Essay
  Readings: Objective Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Expressive Writing
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Emerson on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Mind-map: Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Assignments Page
  Announcements Page
  WRT 120 Course Syllabus for Fall 2005

ENG Q20: Basic Writing

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library


~~ Expressive Writing
Essay #1: IDENTITY ~~


Objectives: (1) to choose, from among the ones presented, a form for expressive writing: the memoir, the open letter, or the response to literature; (2) to craft a message about personal experience that will appeal to a public audience; (3) to practice techniques for generating ideas (brainstorming, freewriting, mind-mapping); (4) to practice revision, and in revising to consider the larger rhetorical situation: the ways in which the needs of the writer, the subject, and the audience can all be successfully accommodated in a piece of writing; (5) to practice careful editing and proofreading.

Directions: Choosing one of the genres we discussed in class-the memoir, the open letter, or the response to literature-write a 3-5 page essay that explores, explains, discovers, describes, or recreates in a compelling way some aspect of your self, your identity. The paper should be written in a first person point of view to go along with its expressive purpose.

Thinking about the topic. The materials we've discussed in class all express ideas related to the broad topic of "IDENTITY." By telling stories, they explore ideas related to the important question of how we come to define ourselves, the ways we define ourselves, the process of defining ourselves.

What is true for the characters in these stories and essays is also true for every individual. We are also at work on our identities all the time. Consciously or unconsciously, we are always in the process of "finding ourselves," discovering who we really are. It's a dynamic process. As one student put it in her paper, "College is about a time in a person's life where they are free from...restrictions...and now they are becoming their own person and who they want to be." Finding out "who you are" might mean exploring your past (in a memoir), or it might mean exploring your present-current ideas and attitudes or events that make you feel strongly enough about something to want to express them to a particular audience (in an open letter). Perhaps this assignment leads you to explore how you define yourself in light of your response to one or more of the stories or poems we discussed in class (or a work(s) you choose on your own).

Whatever your choice, the expressive essay provides you with an opportunity to explore some chosen aspect of your self, your identity, with the purpose of communicating who you are to the world around you. This is an opportunity to write a paper that announces to our classroom community who, in this aspect, you really are, who you wish to be, or who you have been. You will ask yourself, "Who am I?" You'll ask yourself, what moments, experiences, attitudes, memories, responses help you understand who you are? Are there cultural influences (values, beliefs, behaviors, symbols, etc.) do you incorporate into your sense of self? How can you relate your personal experience to the culture around you?

Generating ideas about "Identity"

What is "identity"? Is this a question that's ever troubled you or that you've ever given thought to? What might be the cause of an "identity crisis" and who might be likely to have one? In the absence of "crisis," why might it be useful to explore the topic of identity?

Who defines who you are? Do you define yourself all by yourself, or do you have help? Can a person define oneself without help? Who have been your powerful influences-parents, friends, community, the "larger culture," the shopping mall, your political leaders, the mass media?

What roles do you play in your everyday life that help you define who you are? Which of these roles do you find most influential? Have you ever assumed a role that was an uncomfortable fit at first but which in the end had a profound effect on your sense of who you are? Do you find yourself burdened by any of your roles?

Do you see yourself as essentially an individual or as essentially like everyone else? Are you more comfortable on your own, or being "part of the crowd"? Which do you think is considered more "normal"? (Why?) Is it possible to "do your own thing" and still feel accepted? Is it ever a source of conflict, a source of trouble when you have the desire to go against the grain?

What do you consider the most "authentic" aspect(s) of your identity? Consider "authentic" to mean that aspect or those aspects of your self which haven't been imposed on you from outside (pre-packaged and ready to wear), but which you developed more intimately, either following your own inner resources or the example of those close to you.

Getting started on the memoir

    Create a mind map with the word "Identity" in the middle. Branch out in as many directions as you can think of. Which avenue of inquiry most appeals to you? Brainstorm some specific information relating to a few of the categories you think you're most interested in. As you think about your "interests," for example (if that's one of your categories), can you think of any interesting stories behind how you developed, or are in the process of pursuing, that interest?

    Brainstorm a list of influential people in your life. Is there an interesting story to tell? Is there something you want to explore about your relationship with this person, or your memory of him/her, and specifically how you think this person might have influenced your identity?

    Brainstorm a list of the groups you find yourself affiliated with (anything from a religious affiliation, to a sports team, to a group of friends). How does your affiliation with this group influence your identity? How did you become connected with this group? Is there a story anywhere in there somewhere?

    Probe any areas of conflict you feel when you think about your "identity." Freewrite for a little while to help you discover in more detail what the conflict is all about. Consider making this conflict the central focus of a meditative essay, a "self-exploration."

Getting started on the open letter…

Try the exercises in The Call to Write, p. 135: "Identifying a Topic" and "Writing a Statement of Purpose."

Getting started on the response to literature…

Which of the poems and/or stories had the most meaning for you personally? Freewrite to explore the thoughts and/or feelings these texts evoked in you. What ideas or feelings seem most significant to you?

Does the literature remind you of anything significant in your own life? How does the story or poem resonate with your own experience? How can reflecting on the differences and similarities help you clarify your own identity as distinct from the character in the text?

Guidelines for structuring your expressive response to literature:

Although the readings have been selected because they all contribute to our investigation of "identity," you can discover other themes you may be more interested in pursuing.

      1. Introduction: explain a theme you identify in one of the literary works, or through several literary works.
      2. Body: present a well developed personal connection to this theme by employing concrete examples from the literary work and by narrating incidents from your own experience and/or way of thinking.
      3. Conclusion: bring your discussion to a logical and memorable close.






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